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tion — are the most obvious examples. Largely a pedestrian circulator, seating is limited, and mixed in with traffic for most of its 3.9 mile route, sudden stops are frequent. Those handles hanging from the ceiling are not for decoration. At the Gibbs stop, we alight for a


quick detour. This is the location of the new, lower campus of the Oregon Health Sciences University, one of the anchors of the South Waterfront devel- opment. It is also home to the Portland Aerial Tram, a gondola linking the low- er campus with the university’s main location atop Marquam Hill, 500 feet above. Free for OHSU staff and holders of TriMet monthly passes, we must pay $4 each to ride. The view from the top, however, is worth it: the glittering glass residential towers of South Wa- terfront, the lazy brown Willamette, the outstretched city and beyond, the high peaks of the Cascades in their snow-decked glory. But with two-thirds of the streetcar yet ahead, after only a few minutes of respite we descend.


RIGHT: A MAX Type III car pases by the Wid- mer brewery in Albina, along the Yellow Line, seen here earlier in winter. BELOW: Uncer- tainty abounds as the team awaits its last MAX train, a westbound back to Beaverton, at the Oak Street stop in “old town” Portland. In the nick of time, a Beaverton bound red line train appears... But with Beaverton eight miles away and less than 15 minutes left to get there and catch the last WES train south, will they make it?


6:59 p.m.


Yamhill Street echoes


with the pounding of footfalls as our lit- tle group runs down the sidewalks in what is colloquially known as the “TriMet Dash.” Time is running short, and we have one last small stretch of MAX on Morrison Street that must still be acquired. To get there, we need to capture the eastbound train now pulling to a stop at the Galleria. I arrive at the platform, my heart pounding hard. As the door closing lights begin to flash, the last of our group arrives, and we plunge into the


car. After an excruciatingly slow jour- ney down Yamhill Street, we arrive at First and Oak and detrain. “It’s almost 7:10,” I note, glancing at my watch. “What do we do if we miss WES?”


asks Matt. “Is there a bus to Wilsonville?”


I shake my head in the negative. “What we need right now,” says Dan, “is


a Red Line to come around that corner.” Almost as if on cue, a headlight


gleams around the corner to the north, and a Red Line train approaches. We board it, and the clock ticks onwards.


42 FEBRUARY 2012 • RAILFAN.COM


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